How The Trade Desk Is Integrating With Prebid to Boost Its Unified ID

This comes as the industry realizes cookie-based targeting has to slim down and embrace new formats

The Trade Desk is to integrate with Prebid.org, adding to its earlier tie-up with Index Exchange.
Illustration/Animation: Trent Joaquin; Sources: The TradeDesk, Prebid

The two largest browser providers (Apple and Google) plus regulators are separately implementing a crackdown on third-party cookies and associated tracking practices popular with advertisers.

This has resulted in independent ad-tech companies—i.e., those outside of the industry’s walled gardens that are laden with first-party data—implementing measures to reduce their reliance on third-party data.

Included in this are attempts from trade organizations to prune the number of third-party cookies currently cluttering up the “open internet,” such as websites outside of the walled gardens of the Facebook and Google ecosystems.

Among these are separate efforts, including the LiveRamp-led Advertising ID Consortium, which later suffered the loss of two of its founding members. The Advertising ID Consortium then integrated with a similarly spirited publisher offering owned by the IAB Tech Lab called DigiTrust.

Meanwhile, The Trade Desk, the biggest demand-side platform outside of Google, unveiled its offering, dubbed Unified ID Solution, claiming it will help boost match rates (a fancy way of saying ad dollars) among publishers.

Almost simultaneously, Prebid.org, another publisher-focused industry initiative geared toward helping publishers and their accompanying ad-tech partners collaborate on the rollout of header bidding solutions, rolled out to publishers.

The latest milestone in these efforts includes today’s announcement that Prebid.org will integrate with The Trade Desk’s Universal ID program. Any company using the open source effort will now be able to update their code and participate in the Unified ID program. This lets all parties across the supply chain utilize The Trade Desk’s cookie footprint to increase their own cookie coverage across the open internet.

This is a measure both parties claim will significantly boost match rates among media traders, therefore leading to more relevant advertising and click-through rates among consumers.

Tim Sims, svp of inventory partnerships, The Trade Desk, said the move was an important milestone given that nearly 80% of publishers now use header bidding to monetize content. That’s thousands of publishers.

Speaking with Adweek, Sims added, “The goal of Unified ID has always been this notion of, how can The Trade Desk give away our cookie footprint and make it available for free for all to use?”

This means that publishers and their associated ad-tech partners can use two of the most commonly adopted header bidding wrappers—a piece of software that collects multiple auction bids—to match with The Trade Desk’s inventory demand.

“We had one kind of very centralized access to the ID that gave us a lot of scale, which is the Index [Exchange] wrapper,” said Sims. “And now we’ve essentially added the other major wrapper in the industry, which is Prebid.”

“Typically, a publisher will use one or the other … now, those publishers that utilize Prebid have the same easy access to Unified ID.”

Speaking with Adweek, Tom Kershaw, CTO of Rubicon Project and lead spokesman on its involvement with Prebid.org, said the latest tie-up will give publishers better control over their ID management.

“This lets them determine which page [inventory] values are transmitted to their demand sources and reduce the clutter [i.e., third-party cookies] that are on the page to better speed up page load times,” he said.

“As ID gets more complex with first- and third-party cookies and device IDs kind of converge, publishers having control over that identity footprint on their page is pretty critical stuff.”

Both Sims and Kershaw agreed that measures like this integration are important and that much of the ad-tech sector would have to pay attention to how Google will implement its recently announced changes to cookie restrictions.

When asked to elaborate on the earlier sentiments expressed by Rubicon Project’s leadership that independent ad tech should converge around a singular ID, Kershaw remarked that these are “all steps toward a more sensible ID space.”

“The goal right now is to move from having hundreds toward a few IDs that we can all standardize toward,” he continued.

Kershaw went on to add, “We can then move away from the idea of using the ID as a competitive advantage to one that is a community asset.”